November rain costs taxpayers more than £400,000 in flood reaction

PUBLISHED: 10:00 09 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:00 09 December 2019

Ref Rain drops. Picture: Alex Walton

Ref Rain drops. Picture: Alex Walton

Archant

November rain has cost Devon County Council more than £400,000 in reacting to flooding incidents.

This year was the fifth wettest autumn on record, with some areas experiencing a volume of rain unprecedented in modern times.

Most areas of the UK suffered torrential downpours over the season.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highway management, told Thursday's full council (December 5) that the sheer volume of call-outs and incidents has had an impact on the council.

Cllr Hughes said that highways teams had done well to keep the county moving and that he is not aware that there are any roads still affected by flood water.

He added: "As of November 25, the council received over 326 public reports of flooding for the month, including reacting to 394 call outs, at least a third of which appeared to be due to standing water/flooding.

"Many of the reports appeared to be as a result of defects and / or drainage systems failing due to sheer volume and blocked gullies, ditches, grips etc caused by leaf fall, debris and high water tables.

"The increased volume of defects and reactive responses alone have cost in the region of £400,000 to date and this will continue to increase."

Cllr Brian Greenslade said that the figures speak for themselves.

He added: "It is an unwelcome dent in the budget so let us hope the rest of the winter isn't too bad."

Cllr Rob Hannaford asked for reassurance that the county was ready for any severe weather over the Christmas period.

In response, Cllr Hughes said that the gritting teams are always ready and have already taken to the roads several times this winter.

He added: "Wild and wet is what they are currently forecasting over Christmas, so fingers crossed they don't have to do too much gritting over the holidays and they can enjoy their Christmas."

Devon County Council has already confirmed that no changes will be made to the roads that will be gritted this winter.

The only changes to the primary salting network are where there have been changes to the highway network.


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